Sanford amendment, HIV bill dead but crucial marriage equality vote set for today

Posted on 27 May 2015 at 1:32pm

texas-capitolTwo pieces of legislation opposed by many LGBT advocates died yesterday, Tuesday, May 26. But marriage equality opponents in the Legislature have one more chance to play political batting practice with same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses before the session ends.

SB 779, by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and sponsored by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, is dead. It would have allowed prosecutors to obtain the medical records of defendants with HIV if it is believed the defendant intentionally used their status as a weapon. Advocates for those with HIV and AIDS called the it akin to HIV criminalization.

After a political tug of war, another amendment opposed by LGBT advocates died. McKinney Republican Rep. Scott Sanford’s amendment that would have allowed child welfare organizations, including those with state contracts, to discriminate against LGBT families and children was pulled before it could make a vote.

But one bill still has LGBT advocates on edge.

On Monday, May 25, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, inserted language in HB 2799 by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, that would bar county officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The language placed  is similar to HB 4105 by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

Committee members, including Democratic Sens. Jose Mendenez of San Antonio and Sylvia Garcia of Houston, objected, saying it and other language was inserted without their knowledge.

It will be voted on today in the Senate.

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